Vaidehi addressed the audience at Dhvani on 2nd November, 2014 about Saraswatibai Rajwade’s life and work. She was introduced by Madhava Chippali, a PhD student, who also served as her translator as her speech was entirely in Kannada.
As a non-speaker of Kannada, I could only observe the fluency and fluidity of her speech. Even without being able to understand what she was saying, I could grasp the comfort with which she spoke in Kannada. Her jokes made the audience laugh and she breezed through the speech like a conversation. Only when Madhava translated the speech did I realise that it was dense – filled with memories and stories.
When Vaidehi sought to write Rajwade’s biography, the people who knew her described her as being a fiery, straightforward woman who had both beauty and confidence. Like Goddess Durga, she had many hands carrying different aspects of her life. This included music, politics, writing and being a perfomer. She belonged to an impoverished family and married a rich husband. Her marriage was unhappy, but she credited her husband for always supporting her and teaching her English and music. She started a newspaper and was very successful. She became quite prosperous. In her writing as in her life, she was fearless. At the end of her life, she gave up all her wealth and built a temple in Udupi, where she stayed in seclusion.
Vaidehi also addressed the audience’s questions and discussed the responsibility of a biographer (as she was also Rajwade’s friend) and the neglect that women writers unfortunately face.